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Embrace change, stay attuned to market dynamics and seize opportunities in 2024

As I reflect on the past year, I’m truly humbled by the remarkable resilience, ingenuity and leadership demonstrated by our small business owners who have relentlessly looked for ways to turn obstacles into new opportunities in the face of economic uncertainties and challenges.  Their story in 2023 is not just one of survival; it’s a testament to their ability to successfully innovate and adapt in the face of adversity – and while many of these challenges will persist in the new year, I have great confidence that our small businesses will carry forward this spirit of determination and seize any opportunity that the new economic climate presents.

The economy will continue to affect the trajectories of many small businesses and planning for the ‘what ifs’ will be integral to their success. My advice to entrepreneurs is to have a solid business plan and anticipate scenarios on what the future will bring, to help identify and plan for pitfalls, gaps and opportunities before they happen. This exercise will be beneficial in expressing both the vision of your business and testing your plans against a variety of situations – ultimately setting you up for success. I also encourage entrepreneurs to consider steady investments in digital experiences as a critical component of the business plan that can be instrumental in improving the quality of customer interactions and enhancing long-term competitiveness in an increasingly digitized and globalized economy.

Finally, I would emphasize to every entrepreneur:  don’t do it alone.  The most important resource is often the people around you so don’t hesitate to reach out to trusted members of your professional network for honest feedback, advice and support.

At RBC, we are committed to supporting you across every step of your entrepreneurial journey. Whether it is to help you manage and grow your business, offer solutions to simplify your operations or connect you with other professionals – you can count on us to help you in ways that matter most to you.

I wish you continued success and look forward to partnering with you in 2024!

Don Ludlow

Vice President Small Business, BFS Strategy & Partnerships, Royal Bank of Canada

Don is the Vice President Small Business, Business Financial Services Strategy and Partnerships at RBC.  In this role he leads a team that is responsible for RBC’s small business segment, as well as leading the strategy, partnerships strategy, client experience, CRM and data analytics for Business Financial Services.

Previous roles at RBC have included Regional Vice President Business Financial Services for Southwestern Ontario, National Head of Specialized Sales, Vice President, Commercial Markets, Director of Corporate Strategy and Development and Senior Manager in the Corporate Marketing Department.

Prior to joining RBC in 2001, Don served as an Infantry Officer in the Canadian Army where he led soldiers on a number of domestic and international operations and worked in both staff and training roles.   Don has an MBA from McGill University, an MSC from the London School of Economics & Political Science and a BA from the Royal Military College of Canada (Kingston).

Don also believes in giving back to the community and helped co-found the Treble Victor Group (3V) a network of ex-military leaders who work to support one another in their post-service careers, as well as help military leaders transition to new careers.   He’s also on the Board of the Ontario Chamber of Commerce and Goodwill Industries (Ontario Great Lakes).

Outside of work Don enjoys playing sports, travelling and skiing with his wife Fiona and son Max.


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